Re: Whole house Generator
1-I have never seem a house that new served by only 120 volts. They may not have any 240 outlets but all have had 240 volts service. If you check your panel I believe you will see that the main breaker is a double.
2-I am not a big fan of whole house generator systems. They are expensive to buy and install and they are expensive to operate. I have a neighbor that has one the uses propane. If the electricity is off it runs 24 hour a day and use 4 gals of propane per hour. At contract price of $2.30/gal that means it cost over $220 a day to run.
A more reasonable solution is a much smaller generator and transfer switch that you run as needed. I use a 5500KW generator and a Reliance transfer switch. You can turn on only the circuits you need and generally only need to run it a few hours a day. A 5 gal tank will run it for over 8 hours of use.
Check out http://www.reliancecontrols.com/ and watch the installation video. Any competent electrician or experienced DIYer can install this system. I recommend a larger transfer switch than you need so you can swap circuits in use.
Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb